1 Universidade de Coimbra / CEIS20 (PORTUGAL)
2 Universidade de Coimbra / Centro de Estudos de Comunicação e Sociedade (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 6527-6534
ISBN: 978-84-09-17939-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2020.1742
Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain
Social cohesion is an important objective of the European Union and a shared democratic value in Europe. Disadvantaged citizens of Europe should be provided with tools, skills and competences to assess and understand society critically. In the context of lifelong learning, media education tools should be supportive of their reintegration.

In the context of digital and media literacy in Europe, the definition of “disadvantaged groups” implies a relational observation at multidimensional perspectives. The different sociocultural and economic dynamics, accentuated by the policies in force in each country, reveal the practices of various social actors in different environments, characterized by cultural and geographical issues. Group culture is thus assumed to be the variable that best allows the isolation of an approach angle that integrates hetero and self-categorizations.
A definition of “disadvantaged group” can assume the socio-cultural, economic and political variables that each household faces in its country. On the other hand, cannot ignore generational relationships, lack of digital capital, illiteracy, geographical factors, own personal / group conditions and circumstances (isolation, illness, disability, excluded from society and self-excluded, culturally / economically disadvantaged communities).

Castells (2001) argues that illiteracy is the “new poverty” of contemporaneity. It can be assumed as a new type of “functional illiteracy”, which translates the lack of skills to exist and coexist in the context of a global information society. Therefore, the digital divide has one macro level and multiple micro levels, which result from different constraints. The dimensions of social exclusion - assuming they are not synonymous with poverty - can then apply to digital illiteracy and are thus multidimensional, dynamic, relational, active and contextual. From this perspective and within the context of digital illiteracy, “disadvantaged groups” can be defined in a multidimensional range that comprises indicators of the absence of social rights, micro levels of social exclusion, and groups that are removed from the digital information society.

Media education, media literacy in teacher education, a focus on the elderly and ensuring access to technology are common ground in the various official plans of recommendations. Drawing on recommendations for policies and actions in the context of the European Union, this paper aims to identify and analyse European initiatives that promote digital inclusion by contending the digital divide. The methodological approach mobilised is qualitative documental analysis. From a mapping of the initiatives, the documents were analysed based on their objectives, target audiences, dimensions and implementation indicators.

The results show that action plans converge to the acquisition of skills in different contexts (individual and social) that translate into tools that allow access, critical thinking and communication. The priorities of the plans focus on scientific research and dissemination of best practice documents; validation of different formal and non-formal teaching approaches; promotion of research consortia and policies for action to ensure the integration of joint strategies.
Digital divide, digital inclusion, media education, policies.